Mahindra launched the Quanto compact SUV today. The vehicle is being targeted at couples and the company feels that the Mahindra Quanto can appeal to both husband and wife with its compact dimensions, powerful engine and commanding seating position. On paper, the Mahindra Quanto has a lot going for it. It does have load of features, a powerful engine and good amount of space. However what most prospective buyers would want to know is how does the Quanto drive? We took the Mahindra Quanto for quick spin and here are our first impressions about the car.
* The Mahindra Quanto doesn’t look ugly in person. It doesn’t have proper proportions as Mahindra has just chopped of the Xylo to make the Quanto.
* The front of the Quanto is identical to the Xylo except the top of the grill. The headlights don’t have orange surrounds in the Quanto, rather it is black.
* The side profile is the worst angle to look at the Mahindra Quanto. The tail gate mounted spare wheel has a well designed cover.
* Step inside and there is a good amount of space in both first and second row of seats. Seats are comfortable but the rear seats are too upright and not adjustable.
* You don’t get into the Quanto, you climb into it. The side foot steps help in this regard but not all variants get it.
* Position of power outlet for second row is almost on the floor, which is not easy to use. No arm rest for rear passengers but both front seats have separate arm rests.
* The Quanto is a rear-wheel drive but there is no hump in the middle row and thus three can sit comfortably. However there is no headrest for the middle passenger on the rear seat.
* Last row of seats best for children with no headrests. The jump seats have little width and headroom is inadequate for full sized adults (above 5-feet 8-inches). The last row of windows are too small and have butterfly flaps for opening.
* Last row of seats fold to give decent luggage space. The Quanto is not a complete 7-seater like the Ertiga.
* Interiors of the Quanto are similar to the Xylo. Quality levels are average at best and plastics are hard. In the front two rows, you don’t feel you are in a compact SUV due to the good amount of interior room.
* The high seating position and large glass area give a commanding view of the road ahead. The rear view mirrors are big too.
* The new 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder, mCR100 diesel engine performs well. It has decent grunt for city driving but won’t set the roads on fire. Even with twin-turbochargers, the Quanto doesn’t fly because of its heavy 1640 kgs weight, thanks to the ladder frame.
* The Quanto revvs till 3000 RPM in neutral. The vehicle does take its own sweet time to hit 100 km/h (in 17 seconds) even with 100 BHP of power on tap and 240 Nm of torque. Mid-range performance is good and the Quanto pulls neatly till around 3000 RPM, post which progress starts to trail off.
* The clutch is very light to use. However the gearbox is below average. The gear lever has very awkward slots for all gears, leaving you to guess which gear you are heading for!
* Brakes perform well to stop the massive mass of the Quanto. However pedal feel is lacking and the brake pedal is too hard. One needs to literally stand on the brakes to stop quickly.
* NVH levels of the Quanto could be better. There is significant amount of noise and vibration. As you floor the vehicle, the noise levels increase considerably. Road noise also creeps into the cabin.
* Turbo-lag is present and Quanto feels heavy till the turbo kicks in at around 1600 RPM.
* Steering is light and the commanding view makes driving the Quanto in the city a breeze. The 5.4-meters turning radius is not too much either.
* Ride quality is decent on good roads but the Quanto tends to bounce a bit too much on bad roads.
* With the Quanto having the same suspension system as the Xylo, handling is not confidence inspiring. There is lot of body roll and the top heavy nature of the car becomes immediately apparent when you corner. The small tyres don’t help either.
* Expect mileage of 14-15 km/l in peak city driving, which is very good for a car of this size.
So is the Mahindra Quanto a buy or not? It entirely depends on what you expect from it? During our short stint at the wheel, we could clearly make out that not much work has gone into developing the dynamics of the car. The Quanto behaves like every other Mahindra – easy to drive in the city but poor handling and high speed stability on the highways. At Rs. 8.87 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai) for the C8 variant, the Mahindra Quanto does have a lot going for it. The high seating position, good amount of cabin space (first two rows), versatile seating, generous equipment list and frugal yet adequately powerful diesel engine for the city are the positive points of the Quanto. The Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is way superior on quality, refinement, last row space and driving dynamics. However comparing it with the Quanto doesn’t make sense as the Ertiga is much costlier too.